Quadcopters, drones, and other RC fun


Well, all I can say is DennyA is a master pilot. Went for the cheap route to practice using a Hubsan X4 and I’ve now had to buy the replacement parts kit after my first set of test flights:)

I couldn’t keep it off the ground and stable for more than a few seconds at a time. It was windy, sure, but this flying thing is trickier than it looks. I am amazed at how stable Denny’s movies are. Even when I could get the copter to lift gradually, I was constantly fighting it to keep it stationary and would over-correct and then down she goes.


Honestly, your problem isn’t so much a disparity in skill as it is that you bought a light weight toy, instead of a real quad copter ( no disrespect meant to Denny’s skills ) . The small one like the Huskan have very little weight and are far more difficult to fly than a copter with some mass. I have a Blade 350 QX and its remarkably easy to control.


Well that is good to hear. I don’t think the skill is unattainable. I just need to practice. And if the bigger phantom is easier to pilot then it is a win win.


This is no exaggeration, you will be able to safely fly a Blade or Phantom, almost immediately. They have multiple flight modes that scale the amount of control you need. The rest is handled by GPS. You can start with a basic control level that almost anyone can handle. You can actually be flying the copter, drop the control and the GPS will lock the copter into a safe position until you retake control. You can change to higher modes that give you more control as you gain skill. In those modes you can do some pretty amazing aeronautics. But for basic flight with up, down, left, right, bank and turn you can fly a good quad with ease. Heck, the Blade 350 even had a return to home mode that will bring back the copter to where you first took off and land it. All that extra tech makes them sooo much easier to fly than a small basic quad copter.


Jay, what the others said is exactly it. The little Hubsan X4s are harder to fly than something like a Phantom, because they don’t have the GPS stabilization or the mass of a larger copter. But if you can master the little Hubsan, then something like the Phantom will be a snap.

And learning on the Hubsan has a benefit as you learn manual control, so if you find yourself in a fix with the Phantom, you won’t be 100% dependent on the GPS lock. If you end up needing to manually fly the Phantom due to some kind of automation failure, you’ll know what to do.


Also, helps to practice indoors with Hubsan, where there’s no wind factor.


I get the no wind factor, but I’m so bad at the moment, I would go broke replacing pictures, vases and other furniture:)


At least the rotors are robust!


So this happened.



“Man grabs device with unprotected blades spinning at 6,000 RPM, injures self.”

Not the drone’s fault.

Also, they do make prop guards, and given the idiotic way they were using this thing, it would have made a good $18 investment…


We got a Hubsan for my son. It won’t take off vertically. I’m still trying to find an intelligible tutorial on how to calibrate / trim it, because the instructions that came with it are written in Chinenish :(


Way to bury the lede, Denny! :)

I would have gone with: “International superstar stupidly thrusts hand into drone’s rotor blades and then continues to perform, wiping bloody hands on his T-shirt in front of thousands of screaming fans in unintentionally morbid display of the anesthetic power of adrenaline.”



My second flight session ended the same way. I somehow messed up the trim and now it won’t take off vertically anymore. You are absolutely right about the directions being a shoddy google translate job.

While it was working, I was able to hover for about 20-30 seconds within a 6 x 6 area (before the inevitable crash). Getting better slowly.

Tom, I think your headline would sell more papers and is way more evocative. Wonder if they would let me bring my copter to an Iglesias concert. One missing finger and now no one can have any fun.

In all seriousness, this stuff is dangerous. Hope he is ok.


Hah, Tom, definitely better. It’s going to wrap, though.

Jay and marxiel, I had purchased an X4 as a gift on the recommendation of a couple of guys at work who have them and love them. Your posts scared me out of giving it away, though, so I opened it. Noticed there was an extra sheet with more detailed trim/calibration instructions, and scanned it in case it’s better than the info you guys have.


(Haven’t flown it yet myself; charging the battery now.)


Sadly nearly my entire county in northern NJ (Bergen, just across the GWB from NY) is a no fly zone. :(


Thanks for this manual, I’ll check this when I get back home.

The thing I can’t figure out about the controller, is what do the buttons near the sticks do? Do they control the sensitivity of the sticks, or do they adjust movement - for example, if the drone drifts to the right, can these be used to compensate to the left to stop the drifting?


So got a chance to see a Phantom 3 in the wild today. Super impressed with how it handled the wind in flight. I chatted with the pilot and he had rigged quite the system to be able to see his iPad display in the noonday sun. Glare will be tough to deal with. He was an experienced RC copter pilot and mirrored the sentiment of everyone else in this thread. The phantom is super easy to fly. Now my only concern is how to keep track of it visually. Against the clouds it blended in pretty quickly. Having the GPS backup control and return to home button are super smart to combat this issue.


I bought a sunshade, but I put on an anti-glare screen protector and that’s really good enough for me in 95% of cases, and way less hassle.

On the visuals, I’ll admit I’m mostly looking at the screen rather than the quadcopter unless I’m flying near objects/trees, but I’ve only flown it out of visual range once (to try it). Line of sight is definitely a desired backup, because though it hasn’t happened to me, I’ve seen plenty of reports of the app disconnecting. And I don’t want to have to trust return-to-home if I can avoid it!


No kidding. Would bring a tear to my eye to watch a 1500 dollar copter crash and burn.


my phantom definitely has issues where the app stops working now and then, although the actual copter is working fine. So I try to keep it in visual range :D